Source Code: 12 Monkeys Meets Groundhog Day, SXSW Meets Gyllenhaal
SXSW Film attendees sat star-struck in the aisles, angling to get a look at Jake Gyllenhaal in the flesh -- and that was before his latest vehicle, Source Code, premiered as the opening night headliner. As in the film, which focuses on Gyllenhaal in various states of confusion as an war veteran recruited to re-live the same eight minutes in time in hopes of averting a terrorist attack, Thursday night's screening was all about Jake -- and that could very bode well for Summit as they look to open strong next month.
For example: Not every SXSW premiere sees festival-goers breaking out their cameras during every waking moment before and after the lights go dim in the hopes of capturing a snap. (Blogger reports of one SXSWer's bathroom run-in with Gyllenhaal became full-blown legend overnight; whether or not it's true, it illustrates the point.) The first question following the screening, which played well to an enthusiastic crowd: "I'm a huge fan of Jake Gyllenhaal." [Pause] "Is that the question?" teased director Duncan Jones.
Jones, returning to SXSW with his follow-up to Moon, revealed how a meeting with Gyllenhaal for a different project led to his helming Source Code. "I went and met Jake in L.A. to discuss a film that I've been trying to make forever," Jones explained. "And he said, 'That sounds really fascinating. One day we might be able to do that -- but right now, take a look at this!' And he gave me the Source Code script."
What exactly inspired the story for Source Code? Screenwriter Ben Ripley reminisced. "It was a real torturous process for me to write this. I was thinking about movies like Rashomon, Groundhog Day, and Sliding Doors... [Pause]... eventually found my way to the train and eventually found my way to the terrorism plot. I don't know, I wish I could take a pill and do it again. I think it was trying to channel a non-linear story like Rashomon."
At Q&A's end, co-star Michelle Monaghan summed it up with an appropriately Gyllenhaal-centric tale of long days alone on the Source Code set. "You know, we sat across from each other on that train for 12 hours a day and I don't know how many weeks," teased Monahan "So we got to know each other really well. He's fun and easy to be around and wonderful to work with, and as every chick knows, he's really easy on the eyes."
Other spoiler-free tidbits from Duncan Jones & Co:
- Duncan Jones, with his British accent, calls Michelle Monaghan "Mee-shell."
- Jones inserts at least one inside joke in Source Code, a nod to his cult sci-fi debut, Moon -- the song in question, Chesney Hawkes's "I'm the One and Only." "It's exactly the same piece of music (from Moon). Chesney's a buddy of mine and I remember that piece of music, so it was just one of those things. It's kind of an inside joke for British people; it's a one-hit wonder and a piece of music you play in the U.K. and everybody knows where they were when it came out."
- Gyllenhaal has his own theory: "He was desperately trying to make the seats British flags, on the train. That was a goal. And the only way he could get his British culture into the movie was to put that song on the phone. That's my theory."
- Vera Farmiga calls her character's journey an "interesting moral quandary" and a "psycho-spiritual dilemma."
Source Code is in wide release April 1.
[Photo: Getty Images]